To make our vision a reality, all of us who are deeply invested in the health and well-being of children and families must come together as a networked and engaged movement. Our movement to advance Early Relational Health and emotional connection in every community is built upon a foundation of trust-based relationships, cultural and community wisdom, deep and open collaboration, and meaningful partnerships with families.
Cultivating a Networked and Engaged Movement
We recognize the many efforts already underway across communities to support Early Relational Health, and also that there is still so much more work we can do together. We also know that no one individual program or organization can create an equal and just future for the thriving of every child and family. To create meaningful, sustainable change, we must think beyond our individual agendas and interests.
Under the banner of Nurture Connection, we are generating collaborative learning and innovations that are defined by connections forged across a diverse set of partners joined by a collective vision, a shared leadership mindset, and an acknowledgement of our interconnectedness as human beings.
Listening and Learning
We know that the work to promote Early Relational Health is already in motion in many groups and places. By bringing together parent leaders, practitioners, community leaders, public entities, and all other ERH champions in communities in our “ERH in Communities” listening sessions, we’re leveraging the profound power of both reflective listening and trust- and knowledge-building conversations to propel our movement.
“ERH in Communities” listening sessions are helping us:
Recognize and learn from ERH bright spots across our nation’s communities.
Those include the unique ways communities are leveraging trusted messengers to listen to and partner with families. At the same time, we are more deeply understanding how they are transforming systems, policies, and communities, and designing solutions that are responsive to the needs of families.
Learn new ways to center equity in all of our actions.
There is still much we don’t know or understand about the different ways families are being overburdened and overloaded. Persistent and entrenched racism in our society continues to hold certain communities back. We must deepen our understanding of the barriers to equity that so many of our families face.
Clarify the vision and mission of Nuture Connection.
When we integrate our diverse perspectives, we can imagine new possibilities for change. By listening and learning, we’re building deep connections that energize us to step up, step in, and do our part. We’re discovering that partnering doesn’t mean we all do the same thing; it means all of us contribute in our unique ways to advance a collective vision.
Convening to Cocreate
Just as trust-based relationships are foundational to supporting the health and well-being of children and families and communities, we see them as being essential for the success and growth of our networked and engaged movement. For this reason, one of the core strategic actions of Nurture Connection is to continuously cultivate opportunities to bring our community of ERH champions together.
When we come together in shared spaces, we are able to engage in open and deeply reflective conversations, cocreate solutions for change, and see how our efforts are interconnected. In this way, we will gain a more expansive and holistic perspective of what’s working, what needs to change, and how we fit into the whole. Most importantly, we know that when we come together as a community committed to building a more connected world, we will envision new ways we must spur action — individually and collectively — to achieve our common goals.
Building Philanthropic Momentum in Early Relational Health
Interest in ERH is exploding as both research and the lived experience of families are showing us the critical importance of the early years for lifelong health and success. At the same time, the number and impact of evidence-based strategies to build ERH is growing, even as parent partnerships across communities are meeting families where they are and yielding equitable and promising efforts. This dynamic growth is also creating opportunities for the funder community to lean in and form new partnerships with parents, providers, and researchers to advance and scale widespread change.
The philanthropic sector has a unique opportunity to help leverage the relational health models that offer so many positive benefits to families. Funders can also invest in innovative research and collaborations that will unlock new models and opportunities that have yet to be discovered. Nurture Connection is committed to bringing together a deeply committed and energized early childhood funder community by creating channels for ongoing communication, learning, and collaboration.
Developing Our Movement’s Charter
In May 2021, the Nurture Connection Steering Committee, comprised of experts including parent leaders, health care providers, family service providers, policymakers, early childhood systems leaders, researchers, and funders, came together in a process to better understand the existing support for Early Relational Health and needs for families in different communities across the country.
Our work started with a deep and divergent co-discovery process to build a shared understanding of the opportunities and challenges in promoting Early Relational Health. This co-discovery has led us to articulate a collective vision to ensure each and every child and family can experience the benefits that come from emotional connection in the earliest years to lay the foundation for healthy development.
Now we are focused on developing a set of goals and strategies that will drive the growth of this movement and, more important, the actions needed for change to take hold and grow. The Nurture Connection charter will outline our shared aspiration for the movement to create a healthier future that works for all.
When We Shift Mindsets, We Create Change
Join the Nurture Connection Movement
Community by community, we are building a networked and engaged movement in partnership with parents and families.
Through our collective imagination and effort, we can make sure that every child is cared for and valued, every family is supported and heard, and every community is made stronger through positive and enduring emotional connection.